Skip to comments.The Late, Great American WASP ('bout time somebody said it)
Posted on 12/23/2013 6:29:03 AM PST by GodAndCountryFirst
The U.S. once had an unofficial but nonetheless genuine ruling class, drawn from what came to be known as the WASP establishment. Members of this establishment dominated politics, economics and education, but they do so no longer. The WASPocracy, as I think of it, lost its confidence and, with it, the power and interest to lead. We are now without a ruling class, unless one includes the entity that has come to be known as the meritocracypresumably an aristocracy of sheer intelligence, men and women trained in the nation's most prestigious schools.
The acronym WASP derives, of course, from White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, but as acronyms go, this one is more deficient than most. Lots of people, including powerful figures and some presidents, have been white, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant but were far from being WASPs. Neither Jimmy Carter nor Bill Clinton qualified.
WASP life, though, was chiefly found on the eastern seaboard. WASPs had their own social clubs and did business with a small number of select investment and legal firms, such as Brown Brothers Harriman and Sullivan & Cromwell. Many lived on inherited money, soundly invested.
The late 1960s put the first serious dent into the WASPs as untitled aristocrats and national leaders. For protesters of that generation, the word WASP didn't come into play so much as the word Establishment, heretofore chiefly an ecclesiastical term. The Establishment was the protesters' enemy and target. The Establishment was thought to have sent the country into Vietnam; it was perfectly content with the status quo, with all its restrictions on freedom and tolerance for unjust social arrangements; it stood for all that was uptight and generally repressive in American culture.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Romney-Ryan was the first GOP ticket not to have a protestant.
But we have Kim and Kanye...
You must be a big fan of the Kennedys.
“but most societies need a ruling class of some kind — great families who represent its true ideals.”
Hate to tell you this, but that family would be THE BUSHES.
There were WASPs and there were WASPs.
Some of the characters listed: FDR, the Bush Klan, Rockefellers, etc. as well as others like Tom Kean Senior of NJ, Chrissie Whitman of New Jersey. exemplify everything that is WRONG with America today. And most of it comes from denying and rejecting their own heritage.
The WASP elite became big libs in the 60s - they caused their own death in many ways.
Thanks God, otherwise we might start looking like Detroit....oh wait
There is a great deal of mythology about WASPs. It is erroneous to equate this caste with hereditary European nobility. The US is a big melting pot. Power is fluid. One day you’re up. The next day you’re down. This is all a big myth.
This is a fairly good appraisal, but Epstein writes like an outsider looking in and doesn’t get it quite right.
You are absolutely correct when WASP began to stand for White Anglo Saxon Pagan and not Protestant, the decadence and decline became inevitable.
"the chief WASP qualities were "success depending on industry; use giving industry its task; civic-mindedness placing obligations on success, and antisensuality setting limits to the enjoyment of it; conscience watching over everything."
"Under WASP hegemony, corruption, scandal and incompetence in high places weren't, as now, regular features of public life. Under WASP rule, stability, solidity, gravity and a certain weight and aura of seriousness suffused public life. As a ruling class, today's new meritocracy has failed to provide the positive qualities that older generations of WASPs provided."
The author implies, but never specifically states, that what he really means by WASP is not "white Anglo-Saxon Protestant," but rather "northeast upper class."
The Rockefellers, Carnegies, Mellons, Roosevelts, Vanderbilts and a host of others were not Anglo-Saxon, yet were indisputably WASP.
Apparently it escaped Epstein that Texans are among the most WASPish of the WASPs.
"George W. Bush, even though he can claim impeccable WASP lineage and went to the right schools, seems otherwise to have shed all WASPish coloration and become an authentic Texan."
In other words: he went from being a WASP to being a WASP. (Epstein just can't quite comprehend it.)
Both and Jimmuh are indisputably white, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant.
They just weren't WASPs.
This is true only in Epstein's limited paradigm. The vast majority of America's most successful (financially and otherwise) achievers are not graduates of the schools that impress Epstein as the most prestigious. They tend to be well motivated and talented graduates of state universities and community colleges. For example: Forbes' lists of the richest Americans reveals this year after year.
You are referring to people like George H. W. Bush?
No thank you.
Nahh. He gets it just fine. He just doesn’t express it well.
Most white southerners are Anglo-Saxon and Protestant, despite the somewhat mythical prominence assigned Scotch-Irish ancestry in recent decades.
But southerners have never been WASPs in the sense of northeast ruling elite. He’s actually referring to a cultural group, assigned ethnicity for purposes of labeling, but with ethnicity not terribly relevant in any other sense.
"Of the two strongest American presidents since 1950 Harry S. Truman and Ronald Reagan the first didn't go to college at all, and the second went to Eureka College"
And it illustrates my point.
Truman and Reagan are the only great Presidents of the 20th century.
The only other great U.S. Presidents were Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Lincoln.
By Epstein's criteria, none of these great Presidents was a WASP.
As the Information Age has brought more and more truth to light, the average Americans opinion of them has gone from disdain to contempt--and for excellent reasons.